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Researching food sustainability

11 February 2011

BRASS food conferenceProfessor Kevin Morgan speaking at the conference

A major conference to set the future agenda for food sustainability research was held at the University this week.

Hosted by the University’s ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability & Society (BRASS), the conference focused on the role of social science research in understanding and promoting sustainable food systems.

The conference entitled ‘Researching Food Sustainability: Reflections, Challenges and the Future Agenda’ brought together leading researchers, policymakers and practitioners in the field. They reviewed developments over the past decade and assessed future challenges.

The first day of the conference reflected on the evolution of food sustainability research and discussed the implications for future research. University speakers included Professor Terry Marsden, Director of the Sustainable Places Research Institute, Professor Kevin Morgan of the School of City & Regional Planning, and Dr Adrian Morley, Dr Alex Franklin and Dr Selyf Morgan from BRASS. Themes ranged from governance, accountability and regulation; to sustainable supply chains, agriculture, urban restructuring, biodiversity and risk.

Day two of the conference attempted to develop strategic approaches to sustainable food policy. Hardin Tibbs, CEO of Synthesys Strategic Consulting Ltd, outlined future scenarios for the food sector, which led to a discussion about the upcoming challenges.

"The event discussed the critical challenges facing the food system as set out in the recent UK Foresight report The Future of Food and Farming Report as well as the Welsh Food Strategy. These are issues that are increasingly being felt through the current high food prices," according to Professor Terry Marsden.

Hardin Tibbs added: "The conference was a really good opportunity for researchers at the cutting edge of sustainable food research to come together to chart fruitful future directions for research in this area".

The event will produce a proposed research agenda for social science related food sustainability research which will be published shortly.

Related links

Sustainable Places Research Institute